GREELEY, Colo. - A re-trial jury on Friday convicted Cecilio Chavez of sexually assaulting a developmentally disabled girl near a ditch on the outskirts of Firestone in 2002.
Chavez, 62, was originally convicted in the case in 2003 and sentenced in 2004 to an indeterminate sentence of 24 years to life in prison. He now faces an indeterminate sentence with a minimum 16-24 years, up to life in prison when he sentenced on Sept. 11.
A Weld County District Court judge granted a new trial in 2013 after the Colorado Court of Appeals ordered the release of Department of Human Services records related to the case that the original trial judge had declined to release to the defense and the prosecution.
Police said they arrested Chavez at the scene of the attack on July 15, 2002, after a woman driving by saw him with his pants down near a young girl who was pulling up her underwear. The woman sped to the police department and summoned help.
Officers rushed to the scene along Weld County Road 13 and found Chavez sitting near the girl and her three siblings.
One of the children told police that Chavez lured them out of Onorato Park under the premise of seeing a puppy then led them to an area near a ditch on the edge of town.
According to the children's testimony, he told the three younger children to go to Safeway and get a drink, but they turned back after one of them saw the man on top of their sister. Her brother, who was 7 years old at the time, said Chavez had a knife and threatened to hurt them when he tried to stop him from attacking their sister.
Although she was 12 at the time, witnesses testified that the victim had the mental capacity of a toddler. Chavez was 50.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Christian Schulte and Deputy District Attorney Garrick Storgaard prosecuted this case. Schulte also prosecuted the original trial in 2003.